Friday, April 12, 2013

The Hedge Knight by George R.R. Martin

My husband has joked of late that I'm a bit obsessed with Game of Thrones (and George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series). I'd say I'm an enthusiastic fan, but I guess some would argue obsessed is an appropriate term as well.

It's fortunate really that I only got into the series over Christmas of 2011, because I managed to spread books 1-4 out through 2012 and have just book 5 to go. After that I'll be in the same boat as everyone else, waiting for the next installment to be released. With just two books to go you'd think things would be winding down but I'm certain this is not the case. I don't think anyone can predict where Martin will be taking us in this saga.

And of course I'm watching the show as well. It's a strange kind of torture, having already read book three, sitting next to my husband and waiting to see how he'll react to all the craziness that I know is to come. I'm already anticipating the end of the season and the long wait to the next as well. Why, oh why can't I just enjoy it while it's on?!

Anywho, thanks to the popularity of the show there's a boom in the GRRM market and a ton of reprints/rereleases hitting shelves, including graphic novels and new series tie in editions of the Song of Ice and Fire titles, the recent Tuf Voyaging trade paperback release, a mass market of Fevre Dream, and the paperback editions of Dreamsongs v I and II, which I recently purchased thanks to the inclusion of one of the Song of Ice and Fire novellas (I no doubt will make it through GRRM's backlist at some point - and have started Wild Cards as well - but my craving for all things Game of Thrones led to my tracking down the three existing novellas and anxiously awaiting the fourth that will be part of the upcoming Dangerous Women anthology in December.)

I've skimmed through some of Dreamsongs v II thus far but have only read one essay and the novella in question. A review of the anthology will come later (but know that it's fabulous and includes all kinds of pieces from throughout Martin's career, including a Twilight Zone episode screenplay and retrospective essays by the author).

For other enthusiastic newbies to the series, the novellas are The Hedge Knight (now out in Dreamsongs v II), The Sworn Sword (can be found in Legends II anthology ed by Robert Silverberg) and The Mystery Knight (found in the Warriors anthology ed by GRRM and Gardner Dozois).

The novellas take place about 80+ years before Song of Ice and Fire and feature the adventures of Dunk and Egg. There is apparently a fourth Dunk and Egg tale that is yet to be published (The She-Wolves). (The novella in Dangerous Women is not a Dunk and Egg tale.)

In The Hedge Knight, Dunk has been in service of a hedge knight called Ser Arlan of Pennytree. Unfortunately Ser Arlan has passed away. Faced with the prospect of finding another knight in need of a squire or selling off Ser Arlan's things, Dunk instead decides to take his place as a hedge knight himself, traveling to nearby Ashford Meadow to take place in the upcoming tourney to be held there. Proving he has what it takes to be a knight - and that he indeed has the right to take part in the tourney - is Dunk's first challenge. He is joined by a misfit named Egg and reluctantly takes the child on as his own squire. Thus begins their adventures.

Fans of the series will recognize many of the names included but it takes a much better recall of small details than I possess to draw more connections than that. They are there, however. I came across them in a Song of Ice and Fire wiki devoted to the novellas, which you can find here.

For the most part, I simply enjoy returning to the wonderfully rich world of Westeros! And this allows me to delay diving into the final currently available volume of the series a bit longer.

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